El Faro crew did all they could, ship’s former chief engineer tells hearing

El Faro’s crew tried everything they could to keep the cargo vessel afloat the investigative hearing was told on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

A former chief engineer of El Faro, Mark Gay, testified to the US Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) based on his reading of the audio transcript of the ship’s final hours, taken from its voyage data recorder (VDR).

US vessel El Faro sank on October 1, 2015, when it was caught in Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas and lost propulsion. All 33 crew members died.

Gay, who had worked in El Faro’s engine room some years before, became emotional as he talked about the crew.

“You have a lot of good people doing whatever needed to be done to get this thing going and get out of harm’s way,” Gay said. “I’ve been in conditions where things go wrong in a hurry and you have to make decisions fast. To me, they were doing everything they could to hold on.”

The hearing in Jacksonville, Florida, is the third and final one of the USCG’s investigation. This was the third day of an expected two-week process.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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